The Jos-witz concentration camp

In the spirit of the season, where things are done only at night (like Yar’Adua’s initial evacuation to Jeddah and his subsequent furtive “return”), some night marauders decided over the weekend to visit mayhem on Jos. In the aftermath of the attack, hundreds of women and children were left dead and many more lives shattered forever.

My heart goes out to all Nigerians on this unfortunate incident. Occurrences like this, which only debase and de-humanise us – collectively and individually – further show how low we have sunk as a people. To paraphrase the US President, Barack Obama, why do we fight over those few things that differentiate us and ignore our common humanity?

Whilst it is easy to classify the lastest instalment of this tragic play as a Northern Muslims vs Christians fracas, I believe this crisis is reflective of the decay that’s eaten the warp and waft of our consciousness as a nation – particularly at the top of the nation’s polity. From the ruling party – PDP – which has enshrined a an obnoxious North-South divide in its constitution, through to the Federal character and quota systems and beyond, our common identity as Nigerians has been sacrificed over and over again at the various altars that dedicated to our differences.

One would have thought that a civil war that was fought 40 years ago would be sufficient to teach us, but alas, from the detritus of intellectual capacity that converge in Abuja to rule Nigeria to the common man on the streets, these lessons seem lost in oblivion to all concerned.

To say we have a government that engenders lawlessness would be the biggest understatement of this century, for we have a government that epitomises fecklessness and is in itself an incubator of lawlessness. To date, I do not know of any “militant” (be it Egbesu or Boko Haram) who has been publicly tried for the appalling crimes committed by them. In a similar vein, I do not know if any of the suspects in the January instalment of this sad play of Jos has been tried.

In such freewheeling environment, it is little wonder that the hoodlums who carry out these acts get bolder and bolder each day. Regardless of how lawless the country may have become though, it is the base of human depravity when women and children then become cannon fodder on which gruesome acts like this are perpetrated.

It may be asking too much, but if someone with some measure of authority ever reads this, please ensure that the suspects (if any) in this crime are tried publicly and punished harshly accordingly. That indeed, may be the first step to be taken towards establishing a law-abiding and peaceful society once more.

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